City of Edmonton opens up emergency shelter space during cold snap

The first cold snap of the winter in Edmonon looks to be a long one.

The high Friday was -19 and it’s only getting colder.

Next week the forecast is predicting lows of -40 with the windchill.

In response, the city has opened the doors to the Commonwealth Recreation Centre to house some of the homeless who need a warm place to sleep.

“The forecast for this weekend is extremely cold,” said Christel Kjenner, director of housing and homelessness for the city. “There are overnight lows predicted to be minus 35 and so, we wanted to activate the protocol now to allow time for people to become aware of that option.

“And to make sure there was another place for people who are vulnerable to go during this extreme weather that we expect.”

Here is Edmonton’s forecast for the next week according to Environment Canada 

Kjenner said that other shelters still have some room available.

“We encourage people seeking shelter to seek shelter at those shelters first. In particular, hope mission was only at 80 percent, so they Still have room,” said Kjenner. “However, given the extreme cold period that we are heading into this weekend, in an abundance of caution, and prioritizing individual safety in this extreme weather, it was important to us to activate the protocol.”

People will be able to access the centre from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

The city will give three days notice before closing the temporary shelter down.

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